Hands on: Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

March 13th, 2015 | by Alfred Siew
Hands on: Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
Cellphones
3
P1040275

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge looks sleek with the sloped edges on the left and right.

It looks like Samsung has finally listened.

Getting your hands on the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, you feel the difference in the new materials – glass and metal – that no number of photographs can show.

They feel more “precious” than the plastic phones that the Korean electronics giant had stuck to for years. As first impressions go, I was certainly wowed by the new flagship phones when I first saw them on Wednesday in Singapore.

I’ve not been this impressed by Samsung for a couple of years now. But now it seems the top smartphone maker has finally learnt its lesson the hard way – from falling sales.

If there’s a reason to buy a new flagship phone today, it’s not just for the top-end technology but also the experience of holding something valuable in your hands. Samsung seems to have finally got that message.

Its answer is similar to what Apple and Android rivals like HTC have put out – an improved design.

While this is not the first time glass is being used, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge touts the so-called “toughest glass to date” in the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 that covers the new devices.

Though still light at 138g for the Galaxy S6 and 132g for the Galaxy S6 Edge, the phones feel heavy enough to avoid the feeling of cheap plastic.

P1040277

Does it look like an Apple iPhone?

The sides are also “softer” looking than the angular edges of the Galaxy Note 4 last year. Indeed, they remind me a little of Apple’s iPhone 6, with the familiar colour and layout at the bottom.

Under the pretty case, both the new Samsung phones are packed to the brim with new features. There’s the bright, vibrant 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen at a sharp 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, for starters.

An octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM provide the horsepower to run all sorts of apps, and the camera is a 16-megapixel affair with an optical image stabiliser for steady shots.

From my tests, I can say the camera focuses extremely fast, and lets you fire away quickly. Images, as you’d expect, are sharp in bright light but don’t throw away your compact camera for serious photographs, of course.

P1040290

The Galaxy S6 Edge and S6. Despite appearances, the one with the fancy edges feels smaller.

Of the two phones, I’m more impressed by the Galaxy S6 Edge. Its sibling, the Galaxy S6, feels more like a regular phone despite the changes Samsung has made. The Galaxy S6 Edge, with the sloping edges on the left and right, feels different – and attractive.

The first thing you’d notice is that the phone actually feels smaller with the curved screen. It’s like a return to smaller sub-5-inch displays of a few years ago and it fits the palm nicely. For many users, it’s a nice departure from the gigantic phablets of today.

The curved screens are also functional. If one complaint about the Galaxy Note Edge was that it inconvenienced left-handers, then the Galaxy S6 Edge can be said to be friendly to south paws too.

There’s a good use for the curved screen now too. If your phone is faced down, the edge will blink in a pre-set colour if a particular contact calls up. If you are in a pub, you might want to quickly take the phone out to a quieter place to answer a call from the boss.

Of course, you can also look at the screen to see who’s calling, but sometimes, you don’t want the entire room to know. I can see this feature also working in a meeting room, for example, when you want to be discreet.

To be honest, the edge features are not the main reason why you’d buy the Galaxy S6 Edge. The edge just adds to the sleekness, unlike formulaic smartphones from Samsung in recent years.

P1040280

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is updated with new materials in the form of glass and metal.

The other big change in the new phones is the slimmed down interface. Running on Android 5.0, Samsung’s much-derided add-on software has been streamlined even further than before.

There’s less junk software when you start up now. The test devices I held were not the final version to be shipped, the Samsung folks told the media, but I do hope they are.

That’s because there was little more than the S Health stuff that Samsung is promoting and a handy 115GB of Microsoft OneDrive online storage that was added on. Certainly, the two new phones didn’t feel slow when I fiddled with them.

Sure, there are parts which still feel clunky, like the icons on the Settings page or the drag-down menu. Samsung should look at how LG and Asus are turning out neat interfaces, for instance.

However, I don’t think they are deal breakers. A lot of people will overlook the few rough edges in the software and go with Samsung’s new hardware.

P1040294

The Samsung Galaxy S6 (left) and Galaxy S6 Edge (right).

What will be a deal breaker, I feel, is the lack of support for external storage. With the new streamlined design, you can’t pop in a microSD card now.

So, you’d have to rely on the 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage onboard. And that’s a huge trade-off for many users who’ve got used to this taken-for-granted feature on many Android phones.

Ultimately, Samsung has made a big bet this time to change things up. It’s about time too, seeing how sales have not exactly skyrocketed with the safe Galaxy S5 last year.

Now, if promising number of pre-orders for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge eventually turn into actual sales, this could prove to be a smart change indeed.

Look out for our review soon. We’ll have more on the Galaxy S6 Edge when we manage to test the phone out more extensively.

PHOTO
GALLERY

3 Comments

  1. Lord Lubiano says:

    Well i got my s6 edge gold apr 10, very DISAPPOINTED ON BACK CAMERA IT WAS CRACKED, I just put it inside my jacket pocket iwas not bang or something for sure! And when.i saw it the back camera was cracked!!!! I realized there is no metal protection on it like.other phones!! The camera is very exposed! Now im on my way to samsung service center see what they will do!! Feel irritated and waste of time.
    see photos:

  2. brendanhohoho says:

    This is the first product of the famous Galaxy S line to use metal frame and unibody design with the chassis is 6.8mm thin. All create an impressive appearance for the S6. Two sides of the S6 are equipped with toughened Gorilla Glass 4 anti- fingerprint coating. There is nothing S5 can you see on this phone apart from the 4 corners rounded body.

  3. Tan says:

    Still no radio.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.